If you've followed me from the beginning of my blog, this outfit may come as a surprise because I have never been shy about wearing bright colors. However, with job interviews approaching, my attempt to create a more "grown-up" wardrobe has helped me realize that neutral tones don't necessarily have to be boring, especially when you have this Macklemoreleopard topper to spice things up.
Not going to lie, guys, but law school exams are brutal. As of posting, I have one more left, and I've discovered that my motivation is inversely proportional to the number of tests I have completed. To cheer myself up, I've been reminiscing about the hot Houston sun and the delectable treats at Sweet Paris in Rice Village---a charming, Tiffany-blue cafe that I can't wait to visit again. A few more days!
If you told me a month ago that my 5'4", 124-pound self would not be able to fit into an entire store's clothing line, I would have laughed. I would've told you that a brand that doesn't cater to my size (and above) would be bankrupt because it would be excluding most women in America.
But Brandy Melville, a relative newcomer to teen fashion, has done exactly what I said above: make big bucks selling clothes marked "one size" (which corresponds to an x-small or small in regular sizing). Now, if any store was going to sell "one size" of clothes, you'd expect them to make them generously sized to maximize the number of customers that can buy the items, right?
Brandy Melville caters to the carefree Cali teenager with really good genetics and $30 to blow on a shirt. Most of their line revolves around crop tops, one of which I'm modeling above.
You can immediately see that I am not the target audience for these crop tops. Between the tight, tight Brandy Melville shorts and the unforgiving fabric of the top, I look like I the biggest muffin top in the world. But as you can see from my regular outfit posts, my normal clothes don't make me look nearly as bulky. What gives?
Part of it might be the fabric that Brandy Melville uses. Customers rave about the soft material of Brandy's shirts, but I'm not impressed. The fabric content reveals that the shirts are 40% viscose. If you don't know already, I try to avoid viscose or rayon as much as possible, because those materials wrinkle easily, cling to every lump on your body, and pill after a few washings. I guess longevity is not on the minds of the teenagers that shop at Brandy, so that might not be a problem to anyone else but me.
How do Brandy's bottoms look on me? This cute fringed pair looked promising on the rack because of their elastic waistband. But the "one size" waist only expanded so far, and wrinkled really badly at the seams. Technically, according to the models, the shorts are supposed to ride up higher and flare out, but there is no way that I could've pulled these shorts any higher past my hips.
I obviously didn't learn my lesson with the black pair of shorts because I also tried on a light blue denim pair, and the bunching was so bad that I don't want to upload a picture of it here. If you want, you can click over to imgur and see for yourself.
The shirts and dresses weren't much better (I don't know if I'm wearing a dress or a shirt in the pic above, they both look the same in some cases). Sure, the oversize fit is nice for a change, but it seems that I also need some abs in order to wear the dress without unsightly bulges.
One bright note were the plaid shirts, which were roomier and less constricting. I'd say that the plaid shirts will fit you if you wear a small-medium, although 1) that is nowhere near "one-size-fits-all" and 2) I suspect that the shirts are supposed to fit slightly oversize instead of slim-cut.
The Brandy store itself is a cozy, warm haven and the store decorations inside reminded me of hunting cabins (infused with a California beach vibe. Does that even make sense?) I thought it was a great atmosphere for shopping, but when I came out of the fitting room, the guy friend I had brought along had some strong words to say about the store's atmosphere.
"Everyone's sizing each other up," my guy friend said. (I trust that he had plenty of time to observe, since I had taken forever in the dressing room). He claims that it was really uncomfortable watching groups of girls come in, because the thinner ones would immediately start shopping while their not-so-thin friends would shuffle around. "They're looking around and making sure that everyone knows 'I can fit in this!'"
I didn't get that vibe, but I'm not surprised if it was the case. After all, Brandy markets itself to a certain body type. If you're thin enough to fit in the clothes, well, congrats, you're in and hip and trendy! But as a girl who has never really been excluded from stores based on fit, I was really surprised at how much it hurt to be completely "sized out" of a store. I can't speak for anyone else, but I imagine it must be really hard to find that to be the case at more than one store.
Will I shop at Brandy again? I don't think so: not only am I too old for denim shorties, but the quality is not worth $25-$40 a shirt. Additionally, I felt really odd that every single model and picture in the store was of Caucasian women, with zero diversity at all. And of course, I don't feel entirely comfortable supporting a business that prides itself on being so exclusive that only a size 0 would be able to shop there.
My sister asked me if I was just writing this post because I was mad that I couldn't buy anything at Brandy. Maybe. But I think there's a deeper undercurrent behind my disappointment. If I, a relatively average girl in the prime of my life, cannot fit into Brandy clothing, what does that say about the kind of bodies the brand is cultivating and promoting?
I'm not saying thin is bad, and I know that naturally thin women also have a hard time finding super small clothing. In fact, I would feel better about Brandy if it sold small clothing, but marked it as such: PS, petite, size 00. Instead, they market the clothing as "one-size," with the unspoken presumption that this "one size" will fit anyone who is worthy to buy their clothes. This sure makes their customers happy, but is a slap in the face to most women.
At the same time, I did find that shopping at Brandy was a breeze. Because everything was the same size, I could just sweep through grabbing what I liked, because if I fit in one item, I would fit in all the items, and if I fit in none, I would just leave. I think a store that sold a standard size---say, like the 5-7-9 stores that were popular a few years back---would be a great idea, because it cuts down on having to grab multiple sizes or asking for a size restock. As demonstrated by this Buzzfeed article, one-size clothing is excluding a range of beautiful women, and I just wish that more of us could take advantage of a streamlined store concept like Brandy's.
I see how hard you're working on your blog, making sure everything looks perfect. Why not treat yo self (or a blogger friend) to a stocking stuffer that will make their job so much easier and more glam?
This holiday season, don't just recommend items for others to buy: bloggers need presents too, and the items above will improve your blog, your pictures, and your mood. Also, if any of you have any blogger buddies, I'm sure they'll appreciate one of these gifts as well---as long as you wrap it up nicely for their Instagram.
This beauty of a jacket was tucked away in a lonely corner of a thrift store in Central Square, an unsightly stain on its thick wool. Naturally, I had to take it home and give it a loving clean at the dry cleaners; now this wool overcoat has found a new home and couldn't be happier being paired with an unusual dusty pink sweater and loafers.
And yes, in case you can't tell, I never had pets growing up, so adopting thrift shop jackets is the closest I'll get to the rescue shelter. Welcome to the family, camel coat!